Customer Service isn’t overrated, but it is close to dead in too many places.
Recently I had the opportunity to have my vehicle serviced for the first time since I got it. My wife and I also had the opportunity to purchase a new desk and chair for our “study” from a local company. What happened here was truly a dichotomy in terms of customer service and some excellent education that I took away for my team and hopefully you can find something useful for yours.
They cared about my customer experience, my car, and it showed!
We like to purchase locally as it is important to support our local economy from which both of us benefit. As such, I love working with the local Toyota dealer in particular. The owner and his team take customer service to a whole different level. For example, when I call up and ask for an appointment, they follow up with an email and electronic calendar invitation so I don’t have to remember to add it myself. Another example of taking it that next step . . . cookies! Yes, they bake fresh cookies each day that they set out along with very nice coffee (not something that has been sitting in a pot for hours smoldering and burning).
On this particular day they had a lady setting up a chair to provide free massages to their female clients. Tuesday is “Lady’s Day” and they apparently do this regularly. What was most important to me was that they honored my time, provided a place for me to work, and thanked me for my business. It is a wonderful place to do business because they make it so easy for someone that seems to always have too much on his plate.
Last, the dealership took an extra step and washed my car for me, even though it was snowing, cold, and there was salt on the roads. Yes, my car was going to get filthy by the time I was a mile away but they cared about my customer experience, my car, and it showed!
The other experience . . . was not so pleasant.
Again, we found a local company that provides fresh cookies and somewhat fresh coffee – good start, right? But this company didn’t follow through very well, from our perspective. While the sale went okay -nothing spectacular, nothing offensive, the service afterwards certainly gave us pause enough to consider “buyer’s remorse.”
Instead of getting an immediate call back when leaving a message for the service coordinator, we waited two days as the employee didn’t call the right person as requested in our voicemail
Delivery of the furniture, service to the furniture, and returning phone calls timely all were lacking. It appeared a quality check of the desk was missed prior to delivering it to us, hence the service call request. Instead of taking an additional step and setting an appointment for us, we had to call and request an appointment. Instead of having an exact time, we got an estimate: somewhere between 1:00 – 4:00. And instead of getting an immediate call back when leaving a message for the service coordinator, we waited two days as the employee didn’t call the right person as requested in our voicemail.
My wife and I are fairly easy-going. We both work in the service arena in different capacities so we see the opportunity cost of quality customer service. Most of all, we want to get along easily as we have busy lives.
Here's what I took away from this shopping experience (that you and your business should benefit from):
- Make it easy for customers to set up an appointment that is convenient for them and be as precise as possible, given the product/service provided.
- Treat the customer as if he/she was the most important person at that moment . . . because he/she is!
- Follow up, timely . . . make sure that your client feels like he/she received more than what he/she paid for.
- Do more than is expected – exceed customer expectations.
As a post script – the guy that the furniture company sent out to fix the desk lid just left. He did a great job of fixing the desk and ensuring that all of it worked for me. He was diligent and careful and spent nearly two hours working. In the end, he likely saved that company from losing us . . . guess I need to let them know.